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  1. #1
    Trojan 42's Avatar
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    A language question for my Colonial Cousins

    I got a note the other day from my sons girl! Unfortunately, she's American and doesn't speak English, ( like what I do ) and she used the expression "Cooties"! What on earth does that mean?
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    hahah! Cooties is like a "disease" that kids pretend girls have, and it's highly contagious Boys don't like girls because they have cooties.

    Brad said he liked me because I don't have cooties, but I suspect there's more to it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trojan 42
    I got a note the other day from my sons girl! Unfortunately, she's American and doesn't speak English, ( like what I do ) and she used the expression "Cooties"! What on earth does that mean?
    Little bugs.

    [Q] From Sarah: “Children always say they’re afraid of cooties, and I’ve always been curious where the word came from.”

    [A] Ah, yes, playground taunts. How they take me back. Though, since I’m British, nobody accused me in my young days of having cooties, because the word is not known on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. American children, however, have been using the word for several generations.

    The original cooties were very real and extremely nasty, since the word was first applied to body lice. It’s a slang term intimately (and I mean that sincerely) associated with the military in World War One. It’s first recorded in print in 1917, but is presumably older.

    Several American subscribers have told me that they remember the term being used among children for head lice back in the 1920s. Even in the 1950s and 1960s, the word was still common in this literal sense (and, of course, it's still known as such). There was also the cootie catcher, a folded paper shape that you could use to pretend you had discovered cooties on a schoolmate. By the 1970s, though, its literal associations were beginning to be become diffused to the point that the word could also refer to some generalised repulsive state that only people you don’t like ever get.

    The word sounds Scots, and indeed at one time cootie was a good Scots adjective applied to farmyard fowls with feathered legs (it’s probably from cuit, ankle); a cootie could at one time also be a small wooden dish used in the kitchen for various purposes. But cootie in the sense of louse doesn’t seem to be linked to these (and great powers of invention would be needed to derive our sense from either of them).

    The most common theory is that it is from Malay, where kutu is a louse, though no dictionary I have here feels able to say for sure how it got from there into the slang of soldiers who had to suffer the louse-ridden trenches of the European conflict. It’s persuasively said, though, that it was borrowed by American soldiers in the Philippines early in the twentieth century—either from Malay or more probably a related word in Tagalog—who then took it with them to Europe.

    http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-coo2.htm


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    Trojan 42's Avatar
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    Oh! Perhaps I can't read her writing then, doesn't sound like the thing you'd say to your possible future Father In Law.
    To be born an Englishman, is to be a winner in the Lottery of Life.



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    Hope she didn't say "coochie"

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    I would suggest watching the Simpsons, I have learned everything I need to know about the USof A from this documentary about a normal family in a small town :-)
    Last edited by Standard Dave; 05-19-06 at 01:29 PM.

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    Doh!!!!!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standard Dave
    I would suggest watching the Simpsons, I have learned everything I need to know about the USof A from this documentary about a normal family in a small town :-)
    What about "King of The Hill"?

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  9. #9
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    I prefer Family Guy myself
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  10. #10
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooties

    Cooties is a slang word used primarily by North American children to refer to a fictitious contagious disease or condition. It usually presents along gender lines, as in "Kevin K. Ford, stay away from those girls or you might get cooties!" The Commonwealth/British English equivalent is "the lurgy".

    Originally, the term implied body lice, but over time this became generalised first to any sort of lice, including head lice, then later to purely imaginary stand-ins for just about anything that is considered repulsive. Although the origin is not explicitly known, it can be speculated that the imaginary disease was conceived from reference to how cooties(meaning body lice) can be spread through physical contact with the infested body region. This theory could explain how children developed the idea that cooties can only be spread to the opposite sex. Cootie can also be used as a verb, as in "Don't touch that book! It was cootied by a girl!"

    In some areas, boys are thought to be immune to catching cooties from another boy, and likewise for girls: so as a result cooties can only be spread by contact between the sexes. However, once infected with the cooties of the opposite sex, those cooties can be spread to members of the same sex. Ex. Adam catches "girl cooties" from Beth, so Charles should avoid Adam lest he catch Adam's "girl cooties."
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  11. #11
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    Maybe this will help....

    Using cooties in a sentence:

    Josh doesn't have to worry about cooties, because he has yet to get laid.

  12. #12
    katiemh Guest
    If you want... PM me some of the text around the word and maybe I can decipher what it is based on context.

 

 

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